December 1, 2014

My Thanksgiving Weekend 2015 in Instagrams

1. Our lovely Thanksgiving table setting at my grandma's house in Bloomfield -- with a fresh bouquet sent in from my Mumsie.
2. The endless trees at the ranch up North
3. Petting mules, donkeys, alpaca, pigs, horses and other farm animals at the ranch
4. Horseback riding Western style in the frigid cold along the mud and snow
5. Blending in with the beige and pastels of Lake Michigan
6. Uncovering old photographs at my Grandma's while sorting through my Grandpa's belongings
7. Finding an engraved leather wallet and sweater among other treasures of my Grandpa's to remember him by
8. Decorating for Christmas with my aunt and cousin
9. Boots on the chilly beach
10. "A beautiful paradise for 5 minutes."
11. Waking up to a lady bug on my pillow in the morning before gathering our things to leave the log cabin
12. Dark chocolates topped with candied pansies placed at every dinner plate on the Thanksgiving table top
13. My cousin and I sorting through my Grandpa's endless collection of ties, hats, and belts
14. A full rainbow in the morning sky after a previous rainy night -- and perhaps the silver lining after a recent breakup :(
15. Turkey butter for a festive 'friendsgiving'

I'm missing every moment of a lovely weekend on this Monday evening. Though for a Monday especially, today wasn't bad at all...2014 has been a long and tenuous year...ready to snap in a moment, turbulent...but some of the more difficult changes may have been for the better and I'm ready to begin again this 2015. 

November 13, 2014

Illustrated Memoir for my Mumsie

The Yogurt Bandit
The Twin Premonition
The (Guinea) Pig Roast

Since my mom's been in and out of hospitals with late stage cancer I thought it'd be nice to take up a new project to fund some of her medical expenses. Adult coloring books are popular at the moment...some even saying they are 'therapeutic.' I don't dispute that -- I think that's totally valid. I think there is something inherently therapeutic about meeting pen with paper...whether to jot down words, color in the lines, or create lines of your own. 

That might be why I've been drawing and journaling almost all of my life. 

So lately, I've told my mother to retell her stories in writing. The ones she's been telling me since before I can remember and the ones maybe she's never mentioned before. I'm collecting all of her stories and am slowly (but as fast as I can...) illustrating them to create one illustrated piecemeal story...a collection of what she calls the 'slices of her life' that have been the most memorable, or perhaps meaningful...the experiences that have turned her into who she is...and the stories that in turn have maybe shaped me into who I am. 

It feels good having purpose behind a drawing. It's something a bit new to me -- there's a goal here...a goal beyond just 'I want to start drawing more often.' And so...I think I've found motivation in urgency...and it's been a fun experience turning visions and imagination into these line drawings for people to one day color in. A therapy that keeps cycling onwards...I think my mom finds happiness in sharing her stories. I find happiness in imagining and drawing them -- and am hoping, the people I share the 'coloring book' with will find happiness in coloring between the lines.

November 4, 2014

My Halloweekend in Instagrams

My costume

As always the weekend flew by...but my friends and I threw a little halloween party and it was a lot of fun! Also - this was my first year at my own house giving away candy. Considering I worked, then got home around 6:30, then had to get into costume...and plan a party...and open door to was a bit crazy!
The candy

The bf and I both bought a few bags of candy without necessarily in the end we had six big bags of candy. It was A LOT. I was sure we'd have a ton left over...especially considering how freezing it was outside. We ended up getting a lot more trick-or-treaters than I good thing we bought all that. Our candy stash could have also seemed low because I was sneaking handfuls of candy into kids candy bags when I wasn't supposed to. The bf had a (lame) one candy per kid rule. When it was my turn to answer the door I usually defied it. Haha. 

Last minute (the night before) I decided instead of a scuba diver, that I'd be a fortune teller. A good fortune teller needs a crystal ball of course. So I covered a foam ball with glitter and glued it to a shot class for the base. I found cheap funky printed pants and a crop top shirt all for under $20 at TJ Max and paired that with chunky cheap costume jewelry from Meijer -- and head scarf. Then the ensemble was complete!
The Rita Way and her bf came dressed as Dion and Cher from Clueless. It was hilariously perfect and Cher's costume (her bf) was particularly pleasantly awkward...
And definitely not least...the FOOD. The menu was pretty elaborate, I might say...we had:

Queso & chips
Pumpkin cream cheese spread with bagel chips
Sweet potato fries & honey mustard
Corn elote dip
Fig, brie & walnut flat bread
Artichoke, green onion & pesto flat bread

And of drink:

Apple cider old fashions
Mulled wine
KBC pumpkin ale

Everything was yum!
The bf and I. He went through a few costume changes...

October 31, 2014

Last Minute DIY Halloween Silhouette Winow Decor

This is a super quick and super cute Halloween DIY...even for the most novice of DIYers. 

My mom always makes 'spooky' silhouettes in her windows with black paper. I thought I'd carry on the tradition and do the same -- but instead I used lace black fabric for a bit more spook factor. This is a new house - and this is my first Halloween in my own real I am not stocked up on Halloween decor at all. So this was a good quick and fairly cheap way to decorate the exterior. Along with pumpkins of course.

To start, all you really need is a dark fabric of choice (the Halloween fabrics at Jo-Ann's were on sale, so this cost me under $10 for a yard. Depending on how fancy you go with your fabric, it can cost way less, probably as low as $2-3 a yard. Especially with all of their Jo-Ann's coupons!). You'll also need some tape and fabric scissors. 
And then you just let your inner creative spirit take off...and cut out ghoulish ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, bats...and whatever else you want peeking through your windows. 

There are templates online you can blow up and trace -- but I think monsters become even more monstrous when free styled. 

I wanted to make a scary tree and then completely botched it -- so the bf came to rescue and fixed what he could as you can see...
Then tape your fabric silhouette creations to your windows, turn on your lights, and that's it! 

Happy Halloween,

October 17, 2014

Nasturtium, Berries, and Spicy Arugula Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

The BF and I love going to Detroit Eastern Market. What we love most is the plants and the food! And depending on our mood, some days are plant splurges (where we become plant hoarders) and some days are food splurges (where we buy enough food so we can go home and stuff our faces...). 

Last time we visited Detroit Eastern Market, we were happy to find a build your own salad booth with a bucket of nasturtiums. Nasturtiums happen to be a big favorite of the BF's -- because you can quite literally eat the entire flower -- and we decided to pick up a bag! Along with a few ears of fresh corn and strawberries (all fresh from the market). The only things not immediately fresh were the blackberries!
You Will Need:
Large few handfuls of spicy lettuce, arugular and salad
1 ear of corn
1 handful of strawberries
1 handfull of blueberries 
Small to medium cut of feta cheese.
Handful of  crushed walnuts

Basically, throw everything in a big fruity ball. 

We used this brand of Brianna's Home Style Rich Poppy Seed Dressing --wich was delicious! 
Then either toss your salad, or served on a plate for people to pour their own dressing. Yum!
We served it up with some zucchini bead, also from Detroit Eastern Market, and smoked salmon.


October 15, 2014

Get the Look of Curly 3B Natural Hair with No Gel, Just Moisturizer and a Little Heat

This is a new technique I've been trying out on my VERY fried bleached blonde 'natural' hair (not so natural since it's bleached...). 

Instead of twisting, I just run my straightener over my natural curl pattern to calm frizzies and smooth my texture a little bit. It's really weird because you would think that straightening damaged hair would make it more damaged...but I find that when I straighten my bleach damaged hair it actually becomes much smoother, stronger, less brittle and softer. 

How I style my hair from this:
(Frizzy, brittle, dull)

To this:
(Smoother, softer, shiny)

As you can see, this method of styling resulted in much softer, tamer, and smoother curls and waves--and I didn't use ANY gel! As you may new natural hair tool kit favorite is Yes To Carrot's leave in conditioner. It is super creamy and moisturizing and leaves my hair feeling very soft. To get this look I do use heat--though if you are opposed to heat styling, you can stretch your hair using the wrapping or pony tail method. You could also twist or braid and then pull until taught, bobby pinning the ends.

As you can see, my natural hair is totally fried and breaking off little by little. It's a nightmare! But I am coping as best as I can...not to be overly dramatic...and Yes to Carrots has been a big help. I love the conditioner and shampoo as well...but that will be another post!

The Process:

First I washed my hair using a purple shampoo and Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner.
Then I separated my hair into about 4-6 sections.
I re-spritzed each section with water.
Then detangled.
Then used a dime size amount of Say Yes to Carrots Leave In and distributed the product throughout each section. 
To further distribute product and help clump my curls, I brushed through using my Denman brush.
After that process, each section looks something like this.
Repeat this process throughout your whole head.
After the Say Yes to Carrots Leave In was evenly distrubited throughout all of my hair...I sat under my bonnet dryer for about 45 minutes until my hair was about 85-95% dry.
For extra moisture and shine, I rubbed a quarter size amount of Trader Joe's Organic Virgin coconut oil into my ends.
Then, I covered my hair in a scarf and slept on it overnight letting it dry completely and allowing the coconut oil to absorb.
The next morning, I sectioned my hair again into workable sections. 
You don't need to set your straightener to the highest heat level--but the hotter the straighter, the less time you'll need to run the straightener over your curls. You want to be careful not to STRAIGHTEN your hair -- just stretch your hair. 
This is how short my hair is with shrinkage! It shrinks to about a third the length. Sometimes even less! 
As you can hair is actually much longer. You want to stretch out the small section of hair with your fingers...
And then quickly run your straightener over the section. The longer you let the straighter stay on your hair, the smoother and less curly it will be. I focus the straightener more at the roots and less on the ends. 
Then repeat this throughout your whole head -- focusing a little more on the roots and then running the straightener on high heat more quickly along the rest of the hair and your ends.
This is the result! I didn't use ANY gel or styling product -- only Yes to Carrots Leave in Conditioner. If you do use a gel on top of this, the curls will likely be a bit tighter and will probably last a day or two longer. So that is up to you -- but this just shows that even if you do have very tight curls, you can get away with ditching sticky and/or crunchy styling gels. 
This style lasts me 1-3 days until it starts to frizz. I usually touch up again with a straightener or twist it throughout the week. I find that using a straightener to stretch my curls, rather than a blow dryer, leaves my hair less frizzy and helps reduce shrinkage. Though I still like using my blow dryer on days when I want more volume. I guess it just depends on your style and what you like! But if you have very tight curls (like I do) and want to get the 3B curl/wave look--this is a good method!

Let me know how it works for you!

October 14, 2014

My Weekend in Instagrams: Isalita, Detroit Foodies, & Ok Go Concert

Isalita chicken enchiladas -- with a chocolate red enchilada sauce

It is no surprise that the highlights of my weekend consisted of mostly food--a few fun a tailgate in Ann Arbor as well as an Ok Go concert (I haven't heard their music in such a long time!!)...but all surrounded by good food.

Whenever I go to Ann Arbor there is always a good handful of venues and restaurants that are on my to do list. Isalita is one of them! A Mexican inspired restaurant inspired even more so by Pinterest, likely. All the food is very vibrant and colorful, but also good IMO. And of course...the frozen margaritas bring me back to between class sometimes! Partner in know who you are. 
Isalita frozen blood orange margarita with a sugar rim
Homemade pickled radish

I'm not a big fan of pickles...but my friend let us taste her homemade pickled radishes before we left for the concert in Detroit. They are just as vibrant purple as delicious...and according to her, easy to make! Maybe I'll try this recipe one of these days...
Garlic sesame avocado salad.

And to help fill us up on veggies before hitting up the bar food...she also made us this very fancy salad. It pays off having basically chefs as friends!
PJ's Lager House, Detroit

I love trying new restaurants and bars in general -- but especially in Detroit. There are so many little gems tucked away in the corners of the city that are often overlooked I'd say! Before the show we grabbed drinks and food at PJ's Lager House. I'd come back here just for the mac and cheese...not one veggie...but very delicious. 
Ok Go
Up close and personal with the lead singer

Last but not least...the concert! We were not very close to the stage...but at some point the lead singer decided to come out amongst the crowd and sing to us from a lot closer. And he just happened to come over right around where we were standing. There was a lot of people -- and it was very fun! It was actually at the Magic Stick, which I always describe as very straight forward and a little sticky. But perfect just the way it all of its stickiness. There was lots of confetti...and lots of good times!